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Canoe ID: H.E. Crandall or J.R. Robertson?

Discussion in 'Research and History' started by rayar3, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. rayar3

    rayar3 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I just picked up a 16’ canoe from a gentleman that stored it since the 1970’s after removing the canvas for repairs. He and I assumed it was an Old Town until We got it down from the rafters. To his knowledge, it’s about a 1920’s vintage and his uncle bought it new. I have to see if he can find the original seats and the brass stem bands.

    16’ LOA, approx 32” wide with closed gunwales (gunwales removed showed 31”), and approx 14-15” tall at the center.

    Worth restoring? I bought it with intentions of finding a shop/person that can restore it to the level it deserves, and to paddle it with my father. The serial number is barely readable, with the last digit being 6 or 0. I assume it’s a 6 denoting the 16’ length. I have to use some paint stripper to read the rest. It’s either old paint or dirty varnish, but thin.

    Canoe was purchased just north of Worcester, MA. I’ll have to call the previous owner to get a full ownership story on his uncle.

    Pictures to follow.

    Thanks!
     
  2. OP
    OP
    rayar3

    rayar3 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Here are the pictures. The ribs are all excellent 2 1/4” wide. A few cracks here and there in the planks, and of course the bow ends need attention. There is evidence of a keel. I have to see if it was included with the gunnels.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    That style of deck is consistent with Robertson, Crandell, and Waltham Boat & Canoe Company (which is not surprising since all three companies were owned by relatives. See http://dragonflycanoe.com/decks for examples.

    Check the thwart ends for maker stamps (see http://dragonflycanoe.com/decals) for examples.

    The planking pattern is consistent with Waltham, not sure about the others as I am not an expert on them.

    It certainly looks like a good candidate for restoration.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    rayar3

    rayar3 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks. I’m diving through the old posts, and I’ve read Crandall only made 17’ canoes. So Robertson or Waltham is more narrow. I’ll have to get better pictures of the planking. Hopefully the previous owner history will help when I get it. It was originally a dark green, and the seats were not solid planks as far as the previous owner can remember. The mystery of the boat in the one days I’ve owned it is turning out to be a fun journey!
     
  5. ticonderoga

    ticonderoga "Just one more"

    That's a nice boat well worth fixing. You beat me to it by an hour today. Good find.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    rayar3

    rayar3 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I hope you didn’t drive there only to be dissapointed. I’d been talking with the seller for a couple weeks, and our schedules didn’t match until yesterday. I ended up putting it on my roof racks because my canoe trailer had a broken tie bar as I was getting it ready the night before!
     
  7. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    I have a 15 foot Robertson that has a deck cutout like that. The thwart in your photo looks a little too clunky to me to be a Robertson, but as Dan says, check the top of each end of each thwart for a "Robertson Auburndale, MA" stamp. It is often very faint and has a wave-like form. Maybe the thwart closest to the photographer in the photo of the whole canoe is a clunky replacement? Some photos of the stems showing a serial number, if any, may help ID it too. Crandell had a shop on Lake Quinsigamond near Worcester, but as mentioned above, there were close family ties.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    rayar3

    rayar3 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Here are both thwarts. The ends appear to be the same size, but I agree they aren’t consistent. I’ll load up the canoe and take it to Salmon Falls Canoe when my schedule allows. My canoe trailer is first on the repair list when I get home from my work trip. I hauled the canoe home, took pictures, posted here, and had to be up for my 6 day work trip at 02:30am!
     

    Attached Files:

  9. OP
    OP
    rayar3

    rayar3 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Serial number appears to be 1180 on both the bow and stern. 16 also denotes the length on both ends.

    The rear thwart appears to be original, and the forward thwart seemed to replace the front seat at one time. No makers marks on either thwart.

    Hopefully someone may know a little more to chime in!
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    There are no known serial number records available for Robertson or any of the other Charles River area builders so the number may not help much. Sorry,

    Benson
     
  11. OP
    OP
    rayar3

    rayar3 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks Benson. I’m hoping I can narrow it to a builder based on the serial style. My best guess is that it’s an early Robertson before he switched to the hollow numerals. If his shop was one of the larger ones in Mass, it makes sense. There are no holes on the decks that would have indicated a tag, and no stamp of JRC, indicating the change to a Co in the mid 20’s. Excited to clean up the hull when the weather warms up! I wonder if the original seats were cane or solid mahogany.
     
  12. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The numbers shown below are similar and come from a Robertson canoe with a tag. However, stamps with a font like this were used by many other builders. Good luck,

    Benson



    Robertson-1891.jpg
     

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